On Thu, 9 Aug 2007 06:41:35 -0400, Nick Scholten wrote:

>The past couple of days I've had quite some ideas. A part of this is, after
>I revised the allophony in the vowel system of Kitanic, I figured maybe my
>consonant inventory could use some work also.

>possible clusters:
>initial: tK ts ps ks
>medial: ml nl Nl, Bl zl Gl, mp nt Nk, + finals.
>finals: p\k xp xk, p\N xm, Bm zn GN.

The initial clusters are fine; I'd expect to see at least some of them also 
elsewhere, but maybe these were reduced to /K s/, and/or maybe this is an 
infix /s/ or something. Eh, could be worse. Same with first 9 medials; not 
exactly vanilla, but not freakish either. If I'd change something here so far, 
that would be introducing medial /mps nts ntK Nks/, or alternately, if those are 
too hevvy, /ns nK/ (maybe /ms Ns/).

The finals, however...
1) Woah, syllabic nasals. Cool.
2) /PN xm/ (*) catch my eye as being your only voiceless + voiced clusters. 
The lack of /s/ does not really bother, if it's not a possible final to begin with, 
but the lack of /p t k/ is a bit weirder. A possible solution that comes to my 
mind might be them having changed to voiced frics before /l/ and nasals, 
especially since coda /z G/ occur ONLY in these clusters.
3) The inventory has other holes, however: what about /Pm xN/? Since you 
have /Bm GN/, I'd expect those, too. /Pp/ is also missing, but that sound 
combination might be prone to elide the /p/. And then there's no /Pn xn Pt xt/, 
so while /zn/ is cool, a more regular system might have /zm zN/ in its place. 
(Maybe -m and -N are suffixes or word endings?) Not that this is too irregular; 
those could well have collapsed into /zn/.

(*) I use /P/ for the voiceless bilabial fricativ, because it definitely does not 
suggest a labiodental approximant (which has the alt. symbol /v\/ anyway), 
and because this goes well together with /B T D/.

>besides clusters it's basically CV(C) but words can start in vowels.

Which should then be stated as something along the lines of:
initial syllables - (C)(F)V(C)
medial syllables - CV(C)
final syllables - CV(C)(C), N

>On clusters: I thought that, with consonant clusters, languages allow
>different ones between vowels and at the ends of words. Then I read
>something about the whole onset and rhyme thing which didn't mention such
>a thing at all. Is it true that all possible rhymes can appear either between
>vowels or in a final position?

First off, you've got a slight terminology confusion there. A rime includes the 
vowel; syllable-final consonants are called codas. And no, it's not rare at all 
for more kinds of codas to occur word-finally than word-medially, commonly 
due to apocope (loss of final vowels) or suffixes consisting of consonants. 
Codas that only occur medially are rarer, but not unherd of. But I also suspect 
you're still thinking of clusters; as the others have said, note that medial 
clusters are generally analyzed as coda + onset. So apocope can create new 
codas, but not new clusters.

>Anyway, on to my real issue. I'm stuck on what to do with this. I feel that
>it's too regular, and frequently when I'm trying to make up words [h] and
>[j] and voiced stops keep showing up. Also, I think the phoneme inventory is
>too small, and is so regular it forces me to use sounds I don't like much

Well what's the problem? There's nothing wrong in putting in /j/ and /h/ if you 
want. A pristine blb/alv/vel consonant inventory is rare in natlangs anyway.

>/5/ or /L\/ or both as allophones.

Phonemic /L\/ is kinda rare, and phonemic /5/ not too common either, but if 
you have three alveolar laterals to begin with, it wouldn't be out of place.

>Adding a
>voiced/ejective/aspiration distinction in stops or a combination of those.

A question of taste, really. Just about any combination of stop phonations is 
attested in some natlang of the other.


Of everything? Or a handful of palatalized phonemes? Or just clusters 
involving /j/?

>Maybe /X/ and /S/ or /s`/.

Those are sounds you can take or leave basícally at will within the confines of 

>I'm not sure if I want a rhotic,
>maybe /r/ is a good idea but I'm unable to pronounce it.

Not an insignificant proportion of languages lack rhotics. Can you do a 
tapped /4/ tho?

>bilabial maybe replacing it with labiodental

A question of taste, again, tho /f/ is more common.

>maybe /x G/ also. /K\/, maybe /p/ also.

If you are aiming for naturality, remember that not having /p/ basically implies 
having a stop at some other third POA besides /t k/ or a labial stop of different 
phonation, and strongly correlates with having a voiceless labial fricativ of 
your choice. But again, this is all much of a matter of taste.

>I know that the choices you make for a sound system are largely subjective,
>but I want it to be somewhat realistic. I have no idea whatsoever what
>consonant clusters are realistic, which is the main reason I'm asking these

It's hard to find good information on that, yes.

BTW, I should say that this consonant system for some reason reminds me of 
the first versions of my first conlang, uwjge (currently stuck in redesign.) I 
was about your age when designing it, too... :)

John Vertical